O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

terça-feira, janeiro 11, 2005

Firing's easy in Denmark; so is hiring

Artigo no IHT.

Protection against dismissal has never been a major issue," said Einar Edelberg, deputy permanent secretary in the Danish Ministry of Employment. "It's easy to fire - and accordingly, it's easy to hire."

And that's the main point, say Danish experts on the system.

"The Danish system creates a flexible labor market," the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions said in an official document. "Danish companies are more willing to hire new employees in times of economic revival than their European competitors, who have trouble letting off workers when the economy goes downhill again."

Note that the source of this last comment is the country's largest labor union confederation, a sign of the consensus surrounding the easy-to-fire policy.

Changing jobs has become part of Danish work culture. About one-quarter of the Danish work force switches employers every year, a churning labor market that constantly creates new openings.

The bottom line for Denmark is an unemployment rate that, at 5.3 percent, is well below the 8.9 percent average for the European Union and that of the Continent's economic heavyweights, France (9.5 percent) and Germany (9.9 percent).

It is, of course, worth pointing out that Denmark's overall economic performance is roughly comparable to that of the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden - all relatively small countries that have higher levels of dismissal protection than Denmark.

Yet even among these small countries, Denmark scores near the top, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate for people under 25 years old, the second-lowest rate in the European Union.

So what about the pampering of the vaunted Scandinavian welfare state?

It's here. It may be easy to get fired in Denmark, but there are generous unemployment payments when you are: four years of benefits at an average rate of 63 to 78 percent of your previous salary.

But even here there is a catch. If you turn down a job offer, your unemployment benefits can be cut off.

One footnote on the Danish model: Workers here tell pollsters they feel confident about being able to find work. A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that workers in Denmark led the world in a feeling of employment security, along with workers in the United States. At the bottom of the list were countries with higher degrees of protection, like France and Spain.

The moral of this story: The more legal protections you have against getting fired, the less protected you feel.

posted by Miguel Noronha 4:55 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

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